April 13, 1931 – American racing great Dan Gurney is born

On this day in 1931 American racecar driver Daniel Sexton Gurney was born in Port Jefferson, New York. Gurney would move to California as a teenager, quickly getting caught up in the hot rod culture that had taken the state by storm. By 1958 he would be on the fast track to the racing hall of fame. Gurney competed quite successfully in multiple disciplines of auto racing. He took home first place trophies in Sports Cars in 1958, Formula One in 1962, NASCAR in 1963, and Indy Car in 1967. He was the first of only three drivers to accomplish such a feat. Gurney is also credited with a few other important racing traditions and inventing some critical parts. After taking home the gold at the 24 hours of Le Mans with A.J. Foyt he sprayed champagne from the podium, becoming the first person to do so. He also designed a rear spoiler parts to increase downforce without too negatively affecting aerodynamics. He was also the first drive to wear a full faced helmet in Grand Prix racing.  Gurney was a founding member of All American Racers, which continues to exist today. It was first formed as a partnership with Carroll Shelby and Goodyear in an effort to manufacturer racecars to beat Firestone Tires’ teams. Gurney remained team owner of AAR from 1970 to 2011, when his son assumed the role. He is still active in the racing community. Gurney in his 1962 Indy 500 car during practice. By Raycrosthwaite – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17959679 Dan Gurney at the 1970 Grand Prix of the Netherlands. By Joost Evers / Anefo – Nationaal Archief, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45258333

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